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The main focus of the ZAUM is the interplay between environmental exposure and allergy tolerance. Research covers the climatic and anthropogenic changes of the environment and addresses the question, why allergy prevalence is increasing. The group aims on estimating risks, to develop forecasting methods, to enable primary prevention and discover mechanisms that are important for the prevention and the treatment of allergies. The estimation of risks should lead to preventive steps in order to avoid the spreading of allergens and allergies, e.g. novel allergies against the invading neophyte Ambrosia artimisiifolia.



Basically, we investigate the health effects of the air we breathe with focus on allergy.

1. ePIN: Together with the Bavarian government (LGL) we build the world-wide first automatic pollen monitoring network, that delivers pollen concentrations almost real-time to everybody interested for free https://www.pollenscience.eu. If you want to see any pollen every catptured see www.validation.pollenscience.eu.

2. The microbiome on pollen greatly impacts their allergenicity and we are constructing a map of the world on the microbiome of Artemisia pollen, which carry the majority of airborne endotoxin-producing bacteria (Oteros et al., JACI 2018).

3. The influence of environmental pollution on allergies due to waste products of combustion (fine dust and the organic phase connected to them, e. g. polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons; www.HICE-vi.eu).

4. The effects of climate change on pollen exposure till 2100: see for yourself for your region (https://www.klimapollen.de)

5. Indoor allergen exposure to house dust mite, cats and dog allergen


Research Projects

The group discovered that pollen display an at least 10-fold biological variability when releasing allergens. This result is important for patients with allergies, because symptoms depend on the quantity of the allergen. For the comprehensive investigation of this important correlation a pan-European project was initiated in order to classify the most common released allergens across Europe. The aim, in the interest of the patient, is to develop an early warning system (www.HIALINE.EU). This project was coordinated by Prof. Buters and was sponsored by the European Union.

The investigation of anthropogenic agents of combustion (i.e. diesel engine, wood combustion particles) and their influence on the human immune system is a further project, which is of special relevance for our urbanized environment (www.HICE-vi.eu). Because combustion cannot always be modeled in our laboratories (ship engines), a mobile laboratory was constructed that enables on the spot analysis.

Combustion products occur mainly outdoors, indoor particles are important as well because most individuals stay indoors more than 90 per cent of their time. Our observation is that the fine dust contamination indoor is much higher than outdoors, and that indoor particles (PM10) are toxicologically at least if not more active than outdoor air particles. At present, we analyze the toxicologic impact of airborne particles from elementary schools (ADAPT, Particulate Matter in Indoor Ambient Air). The risk deriving from these dusts is presently uncertain.

Electronic Pollen Information Network (ePIN) is the first robotic pollen monitoring network in the world. We designed the network with extensive studies, basically eliminating superflous monitoring stations by mathematical modeling. Pollen data for Bavaria is now available on-line for free, and a picture every pollen ever caught in Bavaria also on-line.



Air sampling techniques of particulate matter and analytical procedures

PM>10µm, 10µm>PM>2.5µm, 2.5µm>PM>0.1µm with high (800l/min) and low volume (10-30 l/min) samplers on polyurethane foam and Teflon filters in urban, mountainous and indoor environments. Daily spores and pollen quantification in outdoor air (also online), and daily major allergen determination Bet v 1, Phl p 5, Ole e 1, Amb a 1 and endotoxin (rFC-Method). Automated pollen counting, and Air-Liquid cell exposure. ELISA methods for Der p 1, Der p 2, Der f 1, Der f 2, Fel d 1, Can f 1

Molecular biology

Whole genome wide analysis of RNA expression (Agilent Inc.), Taqman low density real-time PCR-arrays. Recombinant gene expression in human primary T-cells („gain of function“).

Cellular systems

Primary dermal human mast cells, FcεR1-humanized Rat Basophils (used as biomarker of outdoor allergens), Human Adenovirus 12-SV40 immortalized lung epithelial cells BEAS-2B, FcER1-Humanized rat basophil cell line (Bioassay for allergens), FcER1-positive murine mast cells, human mast cell line LAD2 and many others. cDNA-directed expression system for human cytochromes P450.

Toxicological evaluation

Genome wide target transcriptome screening, cytotoxicity (endpoints ATP depletion, mitochondrial instability etc.), Cytotoxicity after metabolic activation by cytochrome P450 CYP1A1, 1A2, 1B1, 2A6, 2B6, 2C9, 2D6, 2E1, 3A4, 3A5. Lung toxicity evaluation after Air-Liquid exposure of human bronchial epithelial cells. We have a Mobile S2- laboratory.